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February 2002, 80 posts, 3241 lines





well I'll leave it up to others on the "talent" issue, however I must admit that i have spent some time in the company of Mr. Fandell. I have even seen the inside of his home. And he has seen the inside of mine. True, this relationship has resulted in my being the recipient of an alcohol-laced beverage on occasion or two. Some of which were personally handled by Mr. Fandell. I do not think the drinks were laced. To the best of my understanding the alcohol-laced drinks were not offered as bribe and/or payment for friendly services rendered. I think on occasion I have also offered an alcohol-laced drink to Mr. Fandell. And while this was not a bribe either, to the best of my understanding, I should also point out that both of us expected more than mere alcohol from these arrangements. But it is my understanding that Mr. Fandell is refusing to release the documents from these meetings so the true nature shall probably never be made public.


Hmm, thanks for the kind word. So what's up?....


I am a little slow on the reply, but if Pedro is that intereseted in responses to the Stray show, here is mine.

I don't know which of the spaces in the show ever referred to themselves

The show itself looked like ArtExpo Jr. However individual any of the gallerys might be, they all whitewashed themselves and perhaps unconsciously molded into the status quo.

For some of those represented there, that is the goal. Bodybuilder knows what they are doing, Standard looked quite at home. For others though, Stray was a great disappointment. In fact the more outrageous the reputation of the gallery the more house trained they appeared. An odd conundrum that honestly bothered me for weeks. Of course the opening party was a hit. When isn't a huge group show not packed? Even terrible group shows are full of relatives, friends, parents, drunks, and the rest. Sometimes it is the off times that you can see what really defines a show. Let me tell you, saturday afternoon was dismal at best.

A great space and a great idea, but just more of the same.



It sounds as though you wanted to see the show get a little more Chicago(dirty) and a lot less international(clean white cubey). If not, perhaps you are merely pointing at the weak underbelly of anyone that becomes over involved in the meandering politic that is Art on a day to day wake up and splash water on your face and do it again basis. Either or, its all good. I really think every one cleaned up real purty at stray show. It's not something I want to see every day. Or even as often as once a week. But occasionally it can be a pleasant surprise. Especially if it doesn't have to referance the whiff of institutional or commercial stink. I think all of the spaces did an admiral job of meeting the deadlines and remaining as true to themselves as possible given the perimeters of the show and the spaces were confined to(kudos to Monique who ambitously employed evry inch of space she could{no sarcasm}). The stray show was as you said a group show, one with an appealing homogenienity to it as all good group shows must have. Then there was an even better hook, the disjointed hierarchy. Given that the emphasis was on the galleries and not on the art. Typically a group show has a theme at it's core. But the theme here was not the art at all or even the artists for that matter. It wasn't really even a Chicago theme, as many galleries managed to show non-natives. It was a group theme show on the nature of the chicago gallery specticle. People turned out in droves on opening night to be a part of the specticle. It was like someone emptied the rainbow of the see and be seen crowd for a night and sprinkled ample doses other would be hipsters plus some artists and a lot of beer. Mr. Blackman was the curator and the galleries worked their peculiar magic. The stray show ultimately had little commercial value in the way that Art Chicago does. Some of the more


On Fri, 1 Feb 2002, the reverent Leonard C. Pants wrote:

A great space and a great idea, but just more of the same.

I agree with 'diego bobby' too, it is about community. (and YM parameter :) perimeter is where those galleries are at)

The first thought _I_ had, on entering the show on Friday night, and seeing all the bright overhead lighting, was... "Oh my God, where is all this electricity coming from? Somebody must have bypassed the breaker box and is running this directly off the mains."

Or, Somebody knew what they were doing. This has remained my overall impression of the Stray show: the logistics are identical to the regular Art Chicago: stacks of wall dividers, antenna beams for lights, lots of quartz, shitloads of extension cords. And BEW hanging out by the fusebox. But all of it strangely displaced, and in total absence of collectors, buyers, dealer to dealer deals, and an international representation -- with magazine-like people conversing in French and German on cell phones.

Has no-one besides the reverent Leonard C. Pants suggested that the wonderful efforts of Tom Blackman represent nothing less than a tantalizing introduction to the pleasures of exposition at a 'real' Art-Chicago come next spring? Wanna bet these newbee galleries will seriously consider a booth at the periphery of the next Expo?

You can take the example of Ten-in One, Beret, and Tough: they split the cost of a booth at the edges of Art-Chicago or Art-Expo for years, every Spring, but never sold jack-shit. But facts or logic will not stop anyone. Half of the alt-galleries will do the same: get a booth, split a booth. It is the way of the ninja-galleries: pay the entry fee, show the stuff.

At the same time Blackman has to thanked for the gift of this art-picnic
-- a gift, for the economics dont add up: even having _all_ the galleries sign up for booth space next spring could not pay back the cost or effort of the Stray show. I might be off base, but sponsorship of the Stray Show seemed like a much larger recognition of the alt-art scene in Chicago than I have seen in some years. Which is not to be neglected. OK, too bad about the lack of press.

The best part of this Stray Junior-Expo is to have artists showing their work, galleries playing or posturing at being 'real', and all the artists and viewers (never mind 'patrons') being able to see art stuff, the people involved, get the feel of different galleries, and talk with others. Is was an perimeter-art-community picnic. (TY bobby)

I agree in what the honorable Leonard C. Pants proposes implicitly in his review: what should be written about is the context of this Jr-Expo venture -- not the 'art'. The art ain't worth discussion. It was all stock stuff, old hat, signature pieces, and all decontextualized from larger presentations and from the course of exhibitions by the artists. But overview shows always do that. Diego b is right: it was about galleries.

The problem with Pedro is that he really expects someone to dedicate time to what would a contrived effort at making sense of an amalgam of art snippets - and to do this 'in the style and manner' of big 'critiques' of the big 'art magazines'. Get serious. I'll settle for gossip.



On Fri, 1 Feb 2002 nfaspace wrote:


wtf? your send key bounce?



guess thats a lesson not to read bitchy other group email at 2 am after drinking whiskey all night. i have to admit though, the bullshit factor on other group is really deep right now except the discussion about feng mengbo.

i am much more interested in that direction than further bitching about the stray show and general chicago problems.


iain "out of line" muirhead, nfa space


I don't think I agree that focusing on "what is next" really gets you where you want to go. Anything that is next will ultimately be displaced by what is next next. And good art just sort of is whenever it is. Before, now, or next - to continue with this corny time metaphor.

The point, for me, is to focus on things that seem to be timeless. (You know, like what Rothko said, or Robert Irwin. Numinous.) That is of course impossible, given that we only exist one moment at a time, and each of those moments has a three dimensional and cultural and psychological aspect. But nevertheless, timeless for me.

And for that matter, preverbal as well. I think.

And as for clashing ideas, people, chaos making for great art - it seems like such a materialist idea. Bud Light and The Real World. What about calm contemplation? Really. What about it?

Al Ravitz


In regards to this strain of whatever discussion. Brittney Spears has nothing to do with anything. If she is to set some precedent for an argument you have to, please be prepared to follow it up. Ms. Spears' name in print otherwise serves no point. I am not nearly stoned enough now nor have I ever been to find anything even marginal to associate with Ms. Spears importance to Art. Thankyou NFA for your note. I understand and appreciate your candor. Maybe the future is problematic in a dave hickey sort of way. But my point has nothing to do with him. it has more to do with building on a good vibe rather than dwelling on the fact that stray got no real love. by getting together now we have a jump on art chicago. We have a chance to avoid all this bitching in the future. which is a point that NFA made a week or so ago. lets get our community's head out of it's ass and do something that demands to be looked at and will continue to keep chicago in the minds of those galleries and institutions that are in town as well as out of town long after. That is what got the stray galleries started years ago. I can't speak about the uncomfortable spaces but I imagine the same frustration was probably present then to. let's give our small press a boost ten by ten, FGA, K-D-P, Punk Planet, Lumpen, Chicago Journal, Sight Of Big Shoulders, Good lookin', Bridge and although they don't really see themselves as small press they probley should New Art Examiner. Lets tell them whats going on in the spaces and otherwise before hand so they have an oppurtunity to highlight it or get reviews out. Lets get Chuck and Carrie working on a bigger and better stray off course map. let's get some panel discussions offsite that deal with all of chicago's art scene not just galleries art but the film scene, the music scene(Jazz Indy has a lot in common with art here and it's suffering growing pains) and god forbid theatre.It's all Chicago art.It's even better if it's all inclusive and dynamic. This has always been a theater town. So why fight it? work with it. Figure out ways to make all of that space and those theater ticket sales make their way towards the


Well, I think we should re-activate the othergroup in person, at least for this cause. Are people interested in having an open meeting to discuss promoting the art scene during ArtChicago? If so, let's use the online discussion group to formulate a clear agenda. This way the meeting will stay on target, instead of digressing into a bitch and/or therapy session like they always do. I think Michael noted some important ideas; new and improved map, expanding the circle to include other art forms. Something else to ponder. Do we want to get together to put on another joint show, like stray. I know our resources are not the best when we act alone, but combined we can be strong. How about renting a boat to be docked at Navy Pier??? I know it's sounds crazy, but just think of it. Flocks would have to come, being so close and all. I can see Law Office having a field day with this. It is possible. Just close your eyes and visualize it.

If people really want to get something done, lets do it. Lets trust our instincts and get moving. We need a space to meet at and a time that most people can attend. I think we should also spread the word beyond the othergroup to people who may have something to contribute. There really is no time to waste. Ideas people.

David Roman


To whom it may concern,

Ken Fandell is a liar. When he says that all those people are his friends, he does not speak the truth. I, Chuck Jones, am the only friend Ken


Chuck Jones


On Tue, 5 Feb 2002 nfaspace at wrote:

- 1 Shown 16 lines Text
- 2 Shown 9.2 KB Message, "Fwd: Fw: Chinese Horoscope (Fun!)"
- 2.1 Shown 4 lines Text
- 2.2 Shown 7.4 KB Message, "Fw: Chinese Horoscope (Fun!)"
- 2.2.1 Shown 323 lines Text (charset: ISO-8859-1)

Do I really need a 323 line message in Chinese? But if this gets attched, just think, OtherGroup could send each other image files, and soon send executables, trojans, viruses, MS Outlook Express microbes.. Mac forks.


Hey Mr. Adam,

Good luck in your new life. You and Gravy will be missed ...or maybe know how Chi-town is...ungrateful...anyway..I'll miss you and Gravy...



On Wed, 6 Feb 2002, Leonard C. Pants wrote:

jno-- I don't know what you meant about the lines of chinese text...but it's not the first time!

[... snippages ...]

Show up anytime. /jno



I don't know what you meant about the lines of chinese text...but it's not the first time!

Your response to my othergroup posting was hilarious. Such nice adjectives and titles for Leonard. How are you doing? Is your health holding up? Tell me that you are still walking and not still smoking. And also not still taking the scrip drug. My life is a shambles. A half packed shambles at that. I have begun the Great Pack for the Great Trip. I leave town in a couple weeks, the 23rd is the target. I have come to realize that is very expensive to move across country. My girlfriend is already out there, started school a few weeks ago. When she mo0ved out there, she drove with two friends in a little ford escort. There was only room for a few boxes with clothes, two plates, two knives, forks etc. She tells me that she is living like she is camping, especially since there is no bed there yet.

The things we do.

I would like to hang out with you before I leave. Given our hang-out record of the last months this doesn't seem likely. If we don't think of something I am just going to show up at your house one of these days. The construction business is crazy as always. I am tired as hell, and only looking for something to eat before I crash for the night. Hope all is well, Claudia as well.



On Fri, 11 Jan 2002, Keri L. Butler wrote:

I'm interested in discussing this idea further -- we should think about a few questions:

-how will it be different from other local web sites?

-who will manage it? more than one person? will it be edited or anarchic?

-will people contribute if they know everyone can read what they write? can there be anonymous writings? -could there be selected topic threads that people can choose to participate in?

Finally have time for this. I'll add my thoughts in brief form, and expand on them later. Thus the gearhead details of how a web-site could work, design considerations, permission levels, etc, will be posted later. You may want to skip the later (longer) post.

- who will manage it?
- more than one person?
- will it be edited or anarchic?

Somebody has to set it up, and have access to the website directory and the database. That will be a geek with account access and (if installation of binaries has to be done) with root permission to a machine.

The site could be managed (or owned) by one or more people who call the shots. And they could enlist help in turn. SlashCode uses 6 levels of access, PHPLIB uses 3 or 4. One of those in any case would be "admin" access which allows the admin person(s) to make changes - to the data base at the least.

Editing is up to the website owners - could be none, could be communally, it could be real minimal. Prolly you want to impose some 'order' from the web pages themselves. You could have various levels of access, posting formats, and posting delays.

You could even edit for 'bad words' -- we did that at my house with a BBS run out of the kitchen, where all my kid's HS friends sounded off. I have forgotten the bad words, though.

I suggest you start with anarchy, and see what happens. Just build in the ability to remove obnoxious material, or deny use to some people. Most people behave, though. So you only need to prevent defacement. Cracking is very unlikely, using the right OS, and DB.

You will more likely run into unbelievable stupidity (evolution has taken a turn, here in the West), most of which will be harmless. Watch for these emails: "So, how do I find your web site, and if I find it what do I do then?"

- will people contribute if they know everyone can read what they write?

They do now. Topica is open to reading by anyone with a browser. What keeps most people of the OtherGroup lurking in the background is some fear of disapproval by peers. Like, you can talk to trusted friends at a party, but you would not start shouting gossip about.

It will take a core group of writers to teach by example how to employ some gentle methods of criticism and disagreement. Like Bulka remarking about the KDP site, "maybe it is mostly the horribly clever design..". I would have said something like, "That F-- site F-- sucks," but I carefully kept my mouth shut.

- can there be anonymous writings?

That happens now. Like, who is "examiner" at newartexaminer.mag? Is it their internal auditor? Some people don't sign a name at all. Yes, anonymity should be optional, so you could sign with some cute name, or use your own name. Email addresses should not _ever_ be shown.

- could there be selected topic threads that people can choose to participate in?

Sure - there is now, by default. And some threads are actually established by people filling out the "Subject" line, although more often the actual content drifts about a bit, and there are a lot of hops and skips.

As a Listserv you get a linear set of postings, where you just have to guess what is going on. A website could do much better with ease and elegance, if only for the visual proximity of texts, and certainly cause it easy to track follow-ups, parent posts, children, cold starts.



This is the long version answering Keri's questions, Part 1

(1) first question:
-how will it be different from other local web sites?

If openly run, that is, if it would require very little editorial intervention, it would certainly be totally different. That can be done.

Rob mentioned the following..

I even bought a URL ( a few years back when I was first mulling over taking the slashcode and making it a "public critique" site very similar to what jno was talking about. Though I'm not committed to any name at all, I just thought it was a good term for it.

and he notes how SlashCode (see [http://] works:

The cool thing about slashcode is anybody can comment on the thing and peoples content gets moderated either up or down the list of replies.

That would be about it... or something like it. As I mentioned, imagine a CNN page dedicated to art discussions. There would obviously be links elsewhere, other topics, a database of .. who knows, maybe art openings, cars for sale, studio rentals, addresses of galleries, other resources, images. All this would actually not be difficult to set up, and designed to be no effort to maintain -- at least it ought to be set up as such.

The main idea is to have people post and comment on each other's postings, and to provide a free resource to the wider art community, and to fall within the current charter of OtherGroup: "A consortium of Chicago art curators, gallerists, collectors and artists." Gallerist? Well, whatever.

With a MySQL database and PHP web page script, the posts would be near instantaneous. Or .. depends on how much control you want. Any post would track its parent and children, so you could continue through a thread. The newest posts ought to show on the index page, cause, after all, they represent the latest news.

Additional pages should be made for.. all postings this week, last week, this month, last month, last year, whatever.. or a sort by diego bobby, Bulka, Pedro. Or by topics, or by lists of topics.

... subset of "how would it be different"

Possibilities and examples, the point of which is to impress you with the fact that things _can_ just run on their own.....

- The Spaces.Org page [] gets created automatically every week, without human intervention. This could be stolen every week, or linked to. It's a perl script which runs from a crontab entry, and checks the Reader website for updates to the art listings. It updates the web page in 12 seconds.

- Since January the same script has started an archive of openings, located at [] and also a database of gallery addresses and phone numbers (this last is not on line yet).

- Keri's FYI is not currently archived (that I know of), but could easily be. Procmail could redirect incoming "From: Keri, Subject: FYI" email to a web site subdirectory, and invoke a Perl script to rewrite an index file.

- Better yet: Keri would access a database table of 'new openings and ongoings' via a webpage which only shows up if she has 'admin' permission. Additions and changes could then be made any time, and a report pulled down for remailing later in the week. Meanwhile the data could serve as a resource at the web site. And it would always be up to date.

- The calendar pages which list current and upcoming openings, at [] are written on the fly - that is, they don't really exist.

There are pages for this month's openings, next month, this week, next week, today, plus the events for any calendar date. All run with PHP web page script, and database queries.

As soon as a new event gets 'posted' by one of the clients, it is entered in the database, and your next hit to any of the pages will show it. If the month changes, the page changes (exactly at midnight), etc.

This too, could be stolen or linked (stolen, as in mirrored).

- Any number of items could be added to a database(s) and written to web pages 'on the fly' -- openings, calls for work, ads, artists' statements, images, other links. There is no reason not to let the community at large make use of a public resource and bulletin board

These bulletins could be aged, so they disappear after a time. It is a matter of sorting out who gets what level of permissions, and what the minimum restrictions should be, which could be less than the official imposed restrictions of SlashCode or PHPLIB (session control).

- A rotating gallery could be started, where people could post images of their work. The images could be automatically deleted after some time, or as the number reach some limit. Dont ask how, I don't know as yet.

- All the past posts at Topica, or from any starting point, could be dumped and archived locally, no problem. Most of this could be automated, but a human would have to actually read them to figure which post followed which earlier post.

- A script could be set up which would just get 'new' posts from Topica, and add them to a database. It could be done from saved e-mails also.

The distinct advantage of an amalgamated web site is that all the information could be in _one_ location. I know, you say.. doesn't the Reader do this?

Well, sort of. And the city of Chicago tries too, and other places. But there is no place to actually actively discuss art among peers. There may be hundreds of 'discussion forums' and the like at various website, but they remain hidden from view - they will be found on back pages, they are an afterthought, an add-on gimmick. To have discussions and comment up front would make the OtherGroup site different.

And to be even more truly different, this web site could be _really fast_. It deals in information, not web-drool, and information, even if half the stuff has to be extracted from a database, beats graphics 10 to 1 in delivery speed. Maybe 40 to 1. "Design for speed, you must." - Yoda



In sympathy with the feelings of Dan Wang and others, it seems that the Feng Mengbo exhibition has caused a minor scandal among the IT staff at the U of C. Anthropology and social science majors among them, they come at it from a new and interesting angle--and apparently they feel pretty strongly. Some of them find the piece itself unsatisfying, others are dissatisfied with the accompanying texts we have provided, saying we have missed the point of the piece. One of them was moved to write an 8-page critique of the exhibition (see link below if interested--the most pertinent points are in the second half, in my opinion).

In any case, they have organized a panel discussion at the Ren tomorrow evening, bringing in two speakers from Loyola and including the aforementioned reviewer--an anthropologist on his way to New Zealand.

That's Tomorrow, Tuesday the 12th, 7 pm at The Ren. Wine and Cheese as added enticement.

Alex Golub's review:



Wow, Alex Golub's piece is the most interesting art/non-art review I've read in the longest time. I haven't seen Feng's show but Alex has given me a pretty good idea of what's going on. This brings to mind Spec at the Ren. In which the structure was amazing and the idea of a poratble specific space seemed honorable but the sound part of the piece( Kevin Drumm) was a complete artsy cliche. I mean, if you have the "world's longest subwoofer," why not play Prince or some good Salsa music instead of some artsy composition. I think Alex critique is not just about Feng's work but about the academic rhetoric used to justify simple details and abstract ideas in contemporary art. Maybe artists should go out more often, socialize and mingle in the real world. Maybe go out to the ballpark, support the White Sox or the Bears. You know, there is more to art than just art.



From: Mary Patten Date: Mon, 11 Feb 2002 12:32:29 -0700 To:



PROJECT ENDURING LOOK, which will unfold between Feb. 15 and Feb. 24 at S.A.I.C.'s 1926 Exhibition Studies Space, will involve students, faculty, and staff, along with other artists, performers, community organizers, writers, and academics in a series of ephemeral events, projects, and gatherings which address the role of culture "during wartime." Specifically, the project will investigate shifts in rhetoric and public feelings over the past 6 months in the U.S., and the real and perceived narrowing of what is deemed "appropriate" and "acceptable" expressions of politics, emotions, and critical thought in a period of crisis and confusion.

Through a series of projections, performances, film and video screenings, actions, and exchanges, PROJECT ENDURING LOOK will both include and exceed the limits of agit-prop by embodying grief, empathy, and contradiction. The project intends to extend the boundaries of permissible speech and action, to mix up art audiences, community organizers, peace activists, and radical academics, and to foster exchanges characterized by openness, critique, and solidarity.

Given that the 1926 space exists in the former home of artist Roger Brown, PROJECT ENDURING LOOK will use the literal and metaphorical meanings of



- "ASK ME!" - mobile, temporary sites in which people exchange ideas and heated opinions on a range of topics such as: guilt during wartime; news that no one reports; oil, energy, and conservation; the role of irony in artistic protest; the new Intifada; having sex in times of crisis; and pacifism.


- the space is open for informal use of the resource room and for evolving projects like COMMUNI.K Youth Distribution Network - an open call for youth to speak out against the culture of war.


- an evening of ephemeral events, performance lectures, conspiracy theorists, scrabble games, interactive citizenship projects, alternative P.S.A.s, video projections, more...


- "Kabul, Kabul" by Sedika Mojadidi

- "11th de Septiembre, 1973" by Marcelo Ferrari

- "A House in Jerusalem" by Amos Gitai

- "Operation Empire Fever" by Paul Chan

- "Lockdowns up" by Ashley Hunt

- alternative PSAs produced by Video Machete in collaboration with CAELLII and Southwest Youth Collaborative


- will include GLOBAL/LOCAL "CHEWS," "ASK ME!" an interactive RESOURCE ROOM with WEB KIOSK, a mobile WALL OF EPHEMERA, a cumulative community bulletin board, short video screenings, and more.

PROJECT ENDURING LOOK has been organized by Mary Patten, Paul Sargent, Laurie Jo Reynolds, Scott McFarland, Michael Piazza, Therese Quinn, Sheelah Murthy, Anuj Vaidya, Emily Forman, Claire Pentecost, Dave Grant, and by students in Patten's Curatorial Practice class - Aimee Chan, Julie Demler, Tiffany Haynes, Roopa Kosuri, Jennifer Lopez, Camilla Meshiea, Heidi Norton, Daniel Romano. and Melissa Urcan.

The School of the Art Institute 1926 Exhibition Studies Space provides a forum for the development of innovative projects that explore the meanings of exhibitions, interpretation, and related activities. Throughout the academic year, the 1926 Exhibition Studies Space offers events and exhibitions that are free and open to the public.

Gallery hours are Wednesday - Friday, 3:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m., Saturday - Sunday, 1:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.

1926 Exhibition Studies Space 1926 North Halsted Avenue Chicago, Illinois 60614 tel: 773.665-4802 fax: 773.665-4804 email: saic1926 at

Mary Patten Film/Video/New Media Department School of the Art Institute of Chicago 112 South Michigan, #308 Chicago, Illinois 60603 office: 001.312.345.3684 fax: 001.312.541.8070 home/studio: 001.773.275.1526 email: mpatte at


Wow, [snip snip]


Certainly a _must-read_ (and I will attach it in full in another email -- it deserves to be entered into the Congrssional Record, so to speak).

But I feel Golub's critique fails to recognize art's tendency to radicalize its subject matter. Rather than fault Feng Mengbo for a lack of technological skill, or as Golub has it..


.. we ought rather to understand that perhaps he (Feng) is satisfied with making very few changes (I certainly would be), and we need to look at this simplified version as addressing something more fundamental to the roots of gaming - more fundamental than the 'increased functionality' such as programmers might desire as an elegant aesthetic.

This (as art) is not about "new or different functionality". It is rather the opposite, it is reductive -- a simplification which points to what underlies interactive gaming. To expect 'improvements' in this game might be (as Jen says) "a minor scandal among the IT staff" -- embarrased for the University in promoting something where _they_ (the IT gearheads) would have taken an altogether approach if it had been given to them (the gearheads) to play with or demonstrate Quake publicly -- but it's just the wrong attitude. Art aint about improvements, it is about deconstruction.

I would agree with Gulob's critique of the Ren's exposition of this installation (if indeed it was presented as Golub summarizes it), and certainly if the point was that the Ren has little understanding of gaming culture. They probably don't. But I think it matters little, and their inability to verbalize the ideas inherant in this installation to Golub's satisfaction, and the ren's simplifications of concepts, perhaps in line with Feng's simplification, only obscure that _something_ fundamental (art wise) was recognized in this piece by the Ren.

I don't think Golub's objections are (after Pedro) about the "academic rhetoric used to justify simple details and abstract ideas". I think it is just a complete misunderstanding. It is two 'academic' tradition completely at odds as far as their programs and directions are concerned.

Golub's remaining critique, after his objections that the installation has failed to "understand the enormous aethetic potential of video games", centers on the failure to 'investigate' the sociological aspects of interactive gaming. Here Golub speaks from his second role as an anthropology major. Maybe such is the goal desired in the social sciences, but again: it's not what art is about. Art is not sociological investigation, just like it is not about technological innovations.

Despite disagreements with Golub's article, I think it a wonderful essay. You will read all of it without ever drifting off somewhere else.



part 2, long answers on website questions...

(2) second question:

-who will manage it?
-more than one person?
-will it be edited or anarchic?

The website will need a few managers:

Somebody has to get the site going, and somebody to maintain the inner workings. To get the basic information up: pages you _must_ have, levels of permission, authentication. To set up a database, and make adjustments, corrections, rescues once in while.

I you check you will see two people spending full time moderating the site (but it also _way_ busy). They consider the value of each post they receive, and allow it on the site or not the next day. They do have a series of 'more trusted' writers, and lesser trusted, etc.

Actually it sounds like way too much work for OtherGroup. Actually you only need edits for deleting public comments. And I would recommend total anarchy as a starting point, and just see where it goes.

So prolly you would have:

owner, editor, superuser, manager

-- to make top level decisions, edit as needed.

regular contributors

-- we have 70 people already qualified as folks safe for extensive post.

Topica's 'authentication' consists of rejecting your email if the

trusted users,

Who might post only on certain pages, like gallery owners, and others who might make limited posts (like announcements of openings, ads) or once a day, or once a week.

public access

I really think we should allow just about _anyone_ to add comments anywhere. Small comments, like a few hundred characters. Frequency can be limited with domain/user_agent signatures.

I think the drawback of the listserv is that the Other Group users are inept about email, or in a stupendous hurry, and occasionally dead drunk. A website wont help impulsive posts if it goes real-time, it wont correct spelling or smooth sentences. But if 'regular contributors' have the right to make extensive posts, they should also have the ability to edit or even withdraw their postings. That would be very different from the listserv.

-- Emailers seldom quote what they are responding to. A web based response, could automagically add who and what is being responded to, even quote the _opening_ lines.

-- Emailers do not clean up the email and leave endless garbage attached A web based compose box would immediately fix the cleanup problem.

-- Emailers fail to fill out their names in their email setup, so that at times you have no idea who is writing. A web site would always include a handle or name for a writer.

-- Emailers seldom change the "Subject:" line. A website could (if a posting was in response to a prior post) enter the subject of the thread, and other information from the prior post. And for new threads force you to fill in a 'subject'.

What would be especially impressive is to see posts and the appropriate follow-up together on one page -- rather than the current single strand.


--think of how the site should operate
--consider what sort of attitude will be projected,
--reduce the need for editing and intervention to a minimum,
--keep anarchy alive (yes, please, that's what art is about),
--keep Topica up and running while you test, or keep it running forever for the hardened conservatives
--trust people to be mostly honest and not mean-spirited.

Stupid, yes. Stupidity has to be accommodated.




I see your point and I agree to certain degree. But I also think that Golub's view, even if it comes from a computer geek, highly detailed, counter culture perspective, has a parallel to many of our complains related to conceptual art and the lack of a well developed object. I'm all for conceptual art and its implications but I think we are all longing for more meat in the bone. Let the object , somehow, speak the message instead of going out on a limb as artists and just justify a lacking object with academic rhetoric. We know what Feng's attitude as an artist is but the general public doesn't. Not that they have to but it would be nice if they could. It would be really nice if the "computer geek culture" could embrace this piece...therefore understanding Feng's attitude as an artist. This is what Colectivo Cambalache does all the time and it works. This is what Spec did with the basin.


Hey Pedro;

I agree, rhetoric is rhetoric. And if art could be so easily translated to verbal equivalents, we would all be writers instead of painters and sculptors. There is a question also of "what is art doing in the academy?" But we have seen that complaint once or twice before. The academy is built on obscure rhetoric.

But I really think Golub went off the deep end, despite his wonderfully intellectual essay. It is not easy to be radical with digital stuff like Feng tried to do.. and maybe he missed to point with Golub.

And you ought to look at Golub's web site (just go to the root of that URL). Notice his heroes there: two writers, and two geeks: the last are Rich Stallman and Larry Wall -- the first is the man behind the EFF and the 'copyleft' copyright, the second is the author of Perl and nn.

Wall's criteria for a good programmer are "laziness, impatience, and hubris." (quoting from Wall's book on Perl). Golub demonstrates his hubris and impatience -- angry uppity writers sure create interesting copy -- and also his laziness: he is lazy in his thinking. His purvue and understanding just does not include art; demonstrating perhaps again that art is not for the masses, just for artists (let's see how many OtherGroup people will stop lurking on that thought).

But that's about Golub. Which is what i was after. I also agree with you (I'm right agreeable today) that a lot of empty art 'passes' on the basis of inflated rhetoric and empty ideas - as if it is required of _us_ to work out the importance. But that is yet another matter.

(and clean up yr email)



Look what Topica mail I just got. We could get 100 'vacation' bounces between now and Feb 15


From mduguid at Tue Feb 12 17:06:18 2002 ....


Maybe it just plays too well to my own black thoughts, but Golub's essay depressed the hell out of me. Sure, he is a little geeky and there is that dense paragraph of big words and academic references, but he more erudite and a more engaging writer than most art commentators. Maybe it is that he is a voice from another perspective, but his main point is right on.

This a is a time in art history when there is no big ism, when we are not focussed Modernists reducing the size of the angel's pin. Especially now, artists should be generalists - interested in and informed about everything. Instead, we pretend to have an academic specialty. We guard our scraps of celebrity and opinion as if they were precious gifts. We convince ourselves that, should our shaft of dim light ever fall on something outside the cave, it is the outsiders' ignorance that prevents them from recognizing the grace conferred by our deigning to use a pointer to their life as our art. (or the ignorance of "the masses" that won't let them acknowledge our genius).

Quake and the whole interactive virtual community phenomenon is undeniably an important cultural development, but artists are probably the least competent people to investigate it, as we are largely incompetent to investigate anything beyond our own egos. We may scoff at the triviality of the occasional local news report closer about what some crazy artist is doing, but artists' (or exhibition spaces) attempted appropriation of partially understood bits of science or sociology, youth or ethnic culture or technology is worse for art's complacent arrogance.

See you tonight?



I agree, mostly, with Bulka. I found Golub's points about the culture of gamers incredibly interesting and even enlightening. He is a good writer and a seemingly smart guy. His critique of Mengbo as sociologist or anthropologist or academic was right on, but I don't think that his critique of Mengbo as artist really hits the target. The work at the Ren is clever but insubstantial. Cleverness can always be criticized as not quite smart enough. I agree with Golub that Mengbo's piece is not smart enough.

But more important, in my opinion, Mengbo's piece is not deep enough. It doesn't stimulate any emotional receptors. And in that regard, I don't agree with Bulka. I don't think "This a is a time in art history when there is no big ism, when we are not focused Modernists reducing the size of the angel's pin. Especially now, artists should be generalists - interested in and informed about everything." I mean, why?

Sure, people in general should be open-minded and relatively nonjudgemental, but to make good art (in my admittedly personal opinion), one needs to be focused on internal phenomena. I don't know that generalism or specificism is really the issue. Nor is it attention to the physical, psychological, or the spiritual. It's inward focus - the creation of objects and/or ideas that reflect the unique qualities of the artist - and emotional honesty that distinguish the substantial from the merely clever. And it's creativity, intelligence, technical expertise, and hard work that ultimately allow the work to reflect the aim of the artist.

Now, to agree once again with Bulka, "guarding scraps of celebrity" is not reflective of the inner focus to which I refer above, nor is insecurity-driven intellectual posing. Humility would seem to be closer to required the state of mind. (Mengbo seems to be humble enough, by the way.)

Finally, as for art as cultural critique in general (again an admittedly personal opinion): just write it down and I'll read it.

Al Ravitz


Hey Bulka... relax. Tuesday night is OK for academics living in the campus but for everyday people, working like beasts all day, Tuesday night is not an "art night". Besides, it would take me an hour in a bus to get there... I'm still unemployed and the prospects of hiring a cab seem like a faraway dream.

The conversation derived from Feng's work has been really good and full of information. Which leads me to believe, that if a work of art encourages such exchange, then it doesn't really matter if it's bad art. It's good in many other ways...and that is what makes art fun.


On Wed, 13 Feb 2002, bulka wrote:

Art was dismissed as those folks you hire to make the shadows look real,

That's it? /jno



I am very interested in this project. Here are my thoughts (part 1):

-YES! this sounds good.

-good, I would list by topics

-FYI is archived on Topica as well.

-anything to make it easier...

- I'd rather have different people choose or "curate" the images, or just nix this idea all together.

to be continued...


reply to: part 2, long answers on website questions...

- I agree. I can do basic maintenance, but nothing involving programming.

-does this mean discussion will not be via email, but you will have to visit the web site to participate and/or read messages?

- we should be able to restrict messages from those who send inappropriate comments.

- this would change the flow of discussions though.

- but still allowing autonomous listings..I guess people can make up names if they want anyway...

All the rest sounds good.

One more idea -- should we somehow merge Othergroup with the site? Or at least link them.




OK, part 3 of web questions. Hope this helps. I'll post _this_ publicly, but maybe respond privately

This is the longer version answering Keri's questions. Part 3

(3) next question: actually a few:

- will people contribute if they know everyone can read what they write?

- can there be anonymous writings?

- could there be selected topic threads that people can choose to participate in?

-- "Will people contribute if it is public?"

The Topica site _is_ public and anyone in the world can read anything, and you cannot change anything if you typed "faggot" at 2:28 in the morning. []

Other Group people contribute now, and they know it is public. Not only public, but public among peers. That last is more scary.

-- "Can there be anonymous writing?"

Most every public posting / discussion website uses voluntary anonymity. Even the UseNet is mostly anonymous. It is up to the writer. As an admin you might want to ascertain who new subscriber are, and judge if they can be trusted to behave. So the admin might know, and perhaps no-one else.

On the other hand, you could also try one-line bios, so the public has _some_ idea of who the contributors are (I can see it now: "Fred - is a Chicago based writer" -- how enlightening).

-- "Could there be selected topic threads that people can choose to participate in?"

There are topic threads now - sort of. You have to check the title, often also the contents. A database would make a thread a lot clearer, to both posters and readers. Post should automatically list and quote a line or two from the prior post. It will also help thread if posts appear visually next or near the parent post.

In the database a post would receive an index (automatically), and would also store the index of the parent post. If a post is its own parent then a new thread has started. We simple need a button which reads "new topic".

Every post (might) also have children. A complete run through generations of parent and child posts is the thread of a topic.

Distinct 'topics' could also be started up on separate pages.



Dan -

think of "Fengbo" not as butchering but as assimilation.

Of course I'd love to see some kind of discussion merging Chineese cultural history, art and video games, but culture has just gotten to broad. In the Renaisannce there was only so much known information and one could be a



By the time stamp michael was drunk a little early, but god bless. Let's send him a case of fan cans.

There's that regular kind of good writing, but this is good writing , too.

Read it as a poem and laugh and cry, but then, what do want to do in May?

bulka (unshaven)


I'm flattered and unfortunately don't partake before the day job. But I still want those suggestions.



I trust that in recent posts I've proved that there is at least one other stupid person here. Here's another.

Three things:

I don't much care we have an official function. The occasional bursts of fevered discussion are great, but a plotting space is good, too.

As for plotting, the other two things:

A shuttle seems like a good thing. I'm still recovering from last Sunday's clown bus pub crawl that used three school busses - it can't be prohibitively expensive. We may want better than school busses to attract the fancy folks, but maybe not - its all in the marketing.

And, Tom Blackman, especialy as proven by the stray show, is pretty cool. I don't see why he wouldn't like a panel/presentation from the stray galleries. CACA (we are still marginally alive, unless we choose to pull our own plug at a meeting tonight, Tuesday) is still scheduled to do a slide show this year. If nothing else, I can propose to Mr. Camper (the coordinator for this event) that I work with the strays to do a little promotion.

As a fouth thing - Do you remember CACA? Was anything we did a good thing? Consider this a user survey - I'll bring anything sent before 6ish to the meeting, in case any CACA members aren't other members.

A fifth thing - Do you read New City? I want to talk to them about making their art listings more interesting and useful.



I guess the majority of the people are not interested in suggestions for promotion around ArtChicago. C'est vrai, non?

How about this, Is it worth any effort on our part? Are the patrons of artchicago all bunk for our purposes? What is our purpose? Who do we want to attract? Is this the right forum for this discussion? Does anybody care?

Some more ideas??

Some sort of a tour/transportation to bring people to our spaces. Asking to have some sort of panel discussion on the pier (I know we always do this, but there may be different listeners for once)

Come on don't make me look the only stupid person here



Here is an idea, let's all move out of Chicago. I am and very soon I will be hosting my own "Farewell to Pedro party". You are all invited. Also...the last FGA issue devoted to Chicago comes out in two weeks.


I like the idea of CACA expending some muscle to highlight some of our comings and goings. But the bus thing I think might get mired down a bit. The bane and the bait of the stray galleries in many ways is dispersion. That bus tour would have to cover an awful lot of space between Suburban, Joymore, Standard and Mn as it's travelling around. I realize it can be done by either cutting galleries out getting more buses or doing individual slots of gallery groups. But to me I don't know that that would be effective or fair. I am willing to hear out contradictory thoughts though. As for panel discussions I am all for these at the pier or elsewhere if they can be more dynamic in nature. Like I said in my previous post I would like to see more inclusion of non gallery art types such as theatre, music and film working with us to try and define and invigorate resources here. If panel discussions are going to be about the role of emerging artists, filmakers and musicians in chicago that might be okay but if it's going to be another discussion about the role of the ten hippist galleries in town and how we don't get along in our methodolgy or practices do we really want to subject a batch of outsiders to this? If we do I suggest we acquire the email address's of each boothe holder now and subscribe them to the othergroup. this way they can get a running start with the soap opera lives we have here. at least they will know all of the characters and I can be the evil doctor out to get Donald young for stealing my children and making my hair fall out. I liked david's idea about the boat it was simple and realistic in that costs could be split and it didn't require a butt load of time orchestrating other peoples comings and goings. I also had a thought that maybe Marshall fields might be interested in allowing it's window designers to work with the galleries and artists from each of our spaces. this to seems simple. they would be up for a few weeks so chicagoans could enjoy them to. If Marshall fields pulls in business from the fair then we could as well. I don't think it's been done (but I don't shop much). It's also a landmark building and might pose some interesting problems our artists would like to tackle. Last but not least can we get on a new map? Maybe one that is bigger and badder. Can we have it in time to send individual copies to participants before the show? Kind of a pro-active we've got our shit together so you should make time for us thing. Oh I forgot, I stopped reading New City when you stopped reviewing. Not to be a feather in your cap so much as a you were the only one making an effort there kind of thing. I send them listings and I can't even get those published so I gave up again. By looking at the current art page it looks as though a number of others have as well. Last time I checked It was less then a page long.


Moving are ye laddy. Now where ye be off to matey and leaven so much undone as all this. Are ye going east ma' boy or head'n west into the sun. cause momma always told me never to look into the eyes of the sun. But momma thats where the fun is.


On Tue, 19 Feb 2002, bulka wrote:

I trust that in recent posts I've proved that there is at least one other stupid person here. Here's another.

... stray galleries...

good group name, next call: 'feral galleries."

How many of the feral galleries will have booth space?


Thursday, May 9, et passim General admission: $12

As a fouth thing - Do you remember CACA? Was anything we did a good thing? Consider this a user survey - I'll bring anything sent before 6ish to the meeting, in case any CACA members aren't other members.

Caca at least brought _some_ people together, even if they never agreed on anything. And it might still be a venue for left-over art-review texts. (Well, December 1999, Volume 2, Number 3 - it's not moving fast)

vote: yes;

A fifth thing - Do you read New City? I want to talk to them about making their art listings more interesting and useful.

vote: yes, if they dont shrink altogether out of sight. But it is nice to condense gallery postings to one page.



Mr. Man, your writing skills are like a river of hope. They make me smile and wander to different worlds. Maybe I'll go to Miami, or LA...not to say that NY is not in the plan, who knows, Minnesota sounds good. But I'll take a place that's not a "mirage." A place to satisfy my Heavy Metal addiction. A new place to make new people angry. One that I can shake for treats. Maybe you can take over the FGA for me and praise all the good hearted Chicago shows when I'm gone. Or maybe you'll be smart and move too. But if you stay, remember, this is a city of sports and SNL, not, not art.


The boat idea is great. And, Marshall Fields does area arts organizations windows to help promote events sometimes. They might be interested in doing a collaboration -- maybe choosing a few local artists/galleries to collaborate with their window designers for the week of Art Chicago? And, if they put an Art Chicago sign in each window I could probably get them a page in the Art Chicago catalog. does anyone have a contact? If not, I can find one. but, it might be too late..

also, just fyi, the Chicago Art Dealers Association will be doing shuttle buses (I'm not sure which neighborhoods, probably River North and West Loop only). And, there might also be a shuttle running to Hyde Park. I think the "stray" galleries for the most part would only waste money on a shuttle.

also, if you have a map (old or new) can you get me some so that I can put them in the Art chicago dealer bags? (we can also have them available at the fair of course).



On Tue, 19 Feb 2002, Pedro Velez wrote:

Here is an idea, let's all move out of Chicago. I am and very soon I will be hosting my own "Farewell to Pedro party". You are all invited. Also...the last FGA issue devoted to Chicago comes out in two weeks.


So where are you going?



On 19 Feb 2002, diego bobby wrote:

But the bus thing I think might get mired down a bit. The bane and the bait of the stray galleries in many ways is dispersion. That bus tour would have to cover an awful lot of space between Suburban, Joymore, Standard and Mn as it's travelling around. I realize it can be done by either cutting galleries out getting more buses or doing individual slots of gallery groups. But to me I don't know that that would be effective or fair. I am willing to hear out contradictory thoughts though.

It is all about costs.

From the ac.c web site, take yr pick:

Art Encounter will be present at Art 1999 Chicago to provide tours for individuals and groups. Tours will focus on a variety of perspectives, trends and media featured in work from several different countries. Art Encounter is also available to conduct specialized tours for private groups. For details call: 847/328-9222.

Art on the Move Tours offers group tours of the fair and custom-designed behind-the scenes visits to Chicago museums, galleries and artists' studios. Contact Joan Arenberg at 847/432-6265.

Kreer Associates offers individual and group art and architectural tours. Contact Irene Kreer at 312/346-7784 for reservations and information.

On the Scene is a full-service tour operation. Contact Eleanor Woods at 312/661-1440 for information.


If panel discussions are going to be about the role of emerging artists, filmakers and musicians in chicago that might be okay but if it's going to be another discussion about the role of the ten hippist galleries in town and how we don't get along in our methodolgy or practices do we really want to subject a batch of outsiders to this? If we do I suggest we acquire the email address's of each booth holder now and subscribe them to the othergroup.

They are mostly on-line, check ..


and click on any interesting name fortheir email..

But it might be easier to just ask Keri, check the bottom of this..



... this way they can get a running start with the soap opera lives we have here. at least they will know all of the characters and I can be the evil doctor out to get Donald young ...




Why don't you all talk to Tom Blackman about a booth/table like some of the magazines at which you could exhibit a little art but mainly have your brochures so that if visitors want to look at the edgier galleries they have a map and maybe someone to tell them how to get where they want to go.

Alan J. Ravitz M.D.


At 11:46 AM 2/19/02, diego bobby wrote:

I like the idea of CACA expending some muscle to highlight some of our comings and goings.

Well, of course everyone likes the idea of someone else doing something for them. Turns out that CACA decided it's not dead after all. There will be a panel on artist/critics in March (I'll let you know when and where and details when I know), short talks on six artists at the pier (list not finalized yet, but I don't think any strays) and a summer event just being planned.

As for panel discussions I am all for these at the pier or elsewhere if they can be more dynamic in nature.

Unfortunately, I was a week late with Fred's deadline to propose a Pier presentation. Blackman may be getting tight on his planning schedule by now, too, but the room upstairs where CACA talks is probably not booked for the whole weekend. If someone wanted to do some quick work and get a proposal ready this week it could conceivably work. I didn't realize that Keri was an insider - she may have facts to counter my speculation. If not actually on the pier, there is still plenty of time to put together a panel or symposium of panels for that weekend . Might be a way to drag a few people out to the galleries.



I still like the boat and window display ideas, BUT..

in answer to a few questions:

I doubt Tom will give the Stray Galleries a booth anywhere in the fair. However, I'm sure he would let you have a map or list of shows at our info booth (this has been done before). And, if anyone wants to volunteer to sit at the info booth and share info -- I'm sure that is no problem as well. And, yes, Bulka is right --if any of you have discussion or performance ideas let me know because I'm sure you can do them at Art Chicago (in the upstairs rooms where the CACA talk will be). and, we will help you promote them of course.

Next time I see Tom I will ask him if he has any ideas as well. There are all of these upstairs rooms that aren't used. But, I know in the past that exhibits were put up there and they (TBA) had a lot of problems like unexpected expenses, security issues and a lack of audience. It's probably too late for this year, but I still think the rooms could be used for something interesting maybe in 2003.



On Tue, 19 February 2002, "Keri L. Butler" wrote: ....

I don't have a contact as it was a bit of brain fart. But I wouldn't mind knowing the kind of deadline we are looking at for the catalog the contact should be easy enough to find.

.... also, just fyi, the Chicago Art Dealers Association will be doing shuttle buses (I'm not sure which neighborhoods, probably River North and West Loop only). And, there might also be a shuttle running to Hyde Park. I think the "stray" galleries for the most part would only waste money on a shuttle.

also, if you have a map (old or new) can you get me some so that I can put them in the Art chicago dealer bags? (we can also have them available at the fair of course).

whats the time line on the dealer baggies?

thanks for the heads up


On Tue, 19 February 2002, bulka wrote:

Well, of course everyone likes the idea of someone else doing something for nothing

Isn't that what a Critic's very existence is about. Writing and presenting a theoretical framework around something that another group or individual has created or facilitated in an attempt to create a more keen understanding of that thing or event. Ain't nothin free. It costs money to be an artist, it costs money to run a gallery, a web site, a magazine and to write. But it would be far more costly to be a critic in Chicago if their weren't artists here to write about. Or galleries to go and see them at. With a name like the Chicago Art Critics Association, don't you think it might be appropriate to expect that given the Area in which many of the artists and galleries to which the othergroup has grown to know and love, perhaps a wee dram of muscle expenditure might be appropriate. After all we obviously aren't the worst thing in town. That august honor goes to river north. But we will also never be the best thing in town if folks like CACA see this as a game of us vs. them. It is clearly us I know that the small spaces can do more to work with you folks. But even spaces like NFA which have clearly bent over backwards to accomidate, To the point of moving to west loop gate, keeping regular hours, sending out press kits and risking their integrity with their peers have clearly recieved little support from CACA. So two questions the first what does it take to gain CACA's support, short of an obituary? Secondly why is it bad to expect the Chicago Art Critics Association to expend a little muscle in the direction of the "stray spaces" or the area artists that with out support will move elsewhere. I don't mean to sound glib but a little more organization in that organization might be the key. The small spaces have been working at it. this is one of the functioning realities of the othergroup. The artists have been doing it for years. The "stray" galleries, the uncomfortable spaces and the not for profits all stand as testiment to artists rising to the challenge of Chicago and organizing ways in which their work can be seen and in turn reviewed or sold (or god forbid all of the above). Maybe rather than bitching that the little kids expect the big kids to play nice and do there jobs as well as we know they can, you big kids should sit down and decide whether or not you really want to do them at all. I can guarantee you that if we displease you so much, we will go away. What I won't guarantee is that another group as pig-headed and idealistic will follow. At that point it will become incredibley expensive being a critic in a town with nothing to review but Rhona, Donald, the MCA and Degas at the Art Institute. So you can say we are trying to get something for nothing or you can look at the reality of the situation which is, for nothing, CACA and it's attending writers will get nothing. But with a little cooperation CACA might increase it's own wealth of resources and create new possibilities for itself. It's up to you. I don't belong to your organization nor does CACA's members review or support me. On occasion though various CACAtista's have seen fit to come and drink my beer for nothing. But thats a gift to the community of which CACA is a member and I joyfully engage. But please think hard about what you have before its all inadverdantly pissed away. So is their any more sniping that needs to take place before we get on with our pro-active discussion of upcoming events?


The universe is kind to all manner of fools pedro. I think their is enough room for both of us in that statement. I'll stay for a while longer as the reception on my television seems to have improved since gentrification efforts began in earnest down here. I thank you for your kind invitation to run FGA but my glib tongue wouldn't do service to the outstanding observational body that you have set as a precedent. Keep the faith brother wheresoever you roam

Mr. Man


the Art chicago catalog deadline would be really soon, sorry - like March 5 at the latest. About the dealer bags -- we will stuff those probably the week before the fair (around May 4).


Kids, I don't want to rain on your party but I've been to all those panel discussions for five years now and guess one goes to those, nothing ever comes out of it and no one cares. People at the Pier want to look at art. Go back to the basics, it is the art people want. Stop wasting your time. And Bulka , what's up with this bull about Camper, too much planning is making you numb or somehting. Are you crazy, you guys haven't learned a thing. Why are you so stuck on those CACA people ? Do you know that CACA in spanish means shit. The irony of it is so perfect.

I think Ravitz's idea was good... the table with gallery info and the boat at the Pier is good and the Field's windows display could be good, but don't just put some stupid paintings there or make an installation about Sears. If you get the chance then do something interesting, meaningful, and something people can relate to or learn from ...more than some paintings on a wall. Stay focused on that. You don't need a gallery space or a white cube to do a show, a show happens anywhere, just think of the Parking Lot Biennial or Colectivo Cambalache. And you don't need an Art Fair to give your %100. Do good shows all the time. That's where you energies should be directed towards...producing better shows, with better artists and better ideas.


I agree. I would definitely be willing to contribute funds toward renting the Titanic. I think many of these underground artists and spaces would be perfect candidates for some prime underwater exposure.



On Wed, 20 Feb 2002, Pedro Velez wrote: ......

I have to drop in here, Pedro -- you have no exclusive on this. Caca also means shit in Dutch (kaka), German, French (kak), and probably in Italian. When I first saw the CACA Journal, I asked Bulka, who had a heavy hand in selection the acronym, if he knew what it meant. Of course he did.

A table of gallery info just places you ten years back, as you have already suggested; it has such a wanna-be flavor that it will be a turnoff to any prospective customers. I would stay away from the Pier altogether, as being beneath your dignity, and not worth your time. You don't wanna be represented by them.

You are otherwise absolutely right Pedro - nothing ever happens or comes of all the bitchings. Not in five years or in 20 years. The feral galleries have to realize that they are 'other' from the mainstream galleries. They do not have the customer base, the location, the financing, the artists, and maybe the entrepreneurial wits.

The Reader and the other two flavors of newspapers still ghettoize the galleries with their insistence on listings by 'districts,' which is just meant to keeps the real galleries from being confused with the not real galleries.

What the Stray galleries mean to their dealers I am not altogether certain of - we hope it is a need to present better and newer material, but the whole enterprise must be fueled by lot of hope for unattainable futures.

What the Stray galleries mean to the artists is something different. It is a chance to show work for which there is no other outlet in Chicago. Take a survey of visitors at any Stray opening: most of the crowd consists of artist, even occasional art buying artists, but not north shore money.

The combined Stray dealers and Stray artists ought to give recognition to their separateness and their unique culture. They have no reason to exhibit at the Pier Fair, no reason to attempt joining the establishment as outsiders, no reason to seek support in the writings of 'the critics'. Even if you allow for that fact that some Stray Galleries will go establishment from time to time, that such desires might even be a condition of their existence, their are reasons enough to declare an otherness from the mainstream establishment galleries and dealers. What's with this urge to be just like every other gallery anyway?

Declare your undisputable separateness and organize your own Art Fair. A strange suggestion, I know, considering that it took Pier Fair sponsorship to put the fall Stray Show together. You ain't gonna do it this year; this year would only allow angry statements and declarations. But shit, get your combined act together. And do it before the steam runs out.

(MHO) /jno


As usual, in the middle of all the anger, Pedro is right about a lot of things.

In particular, I think it is curious that we spend so much time talking about product placement and relatively little on product quality. Back in the discussion of the Stray show, the most significant commentary (here or in the real world) was that the show was better than the art.

Other than that, though, panels and such have (edutainement?) value in themselves, without respect to how good a marketing tool they may or may not be. If there is any interest in pulling something together for May, I'm willing to participate or moderate or help organize or whatever.

We'd have to have more meat than "We're Here, We're Spare, Get Used To It!" Frustrated self-promotion doesn't even interest us. What is it about the spare artists or art that makes them more like each other than like other things? Are there topics that interest us collectively? Some conceptual thread that could be addressed?

And I apologize for my presumptuous use of "we".


Emerging artists; what he says is true for some and not so true for some... the non-for-profit tables and tours and so forth have always been at Art Chicago aka Art Expo with their buses, with their flyers, with their tables and with their hopes.

A better way is to work the show and have you slides or cd of your work or have an alternate site where the gallery dealer can your experience your work....

In terms of tech art it is hard to experience something which is an installation or smart art or interactive within a marketing yourself at the show is a problem if you have that kind of work. HIs idea of your own art fair is a great one for example Ars Electronicia ----- .

In reference to ARt Encounter Joanne Pinsky has been around for over 25 years and a lot of what she does is about prompting aritsts (mostly studio arts).

I would say that most Collectors want something they can put under their arms and carry away..think small...large prices (even smart art or tech art)

Collectors usaully start small, and then work with an artist and get to know the artist Think small investment over time....then they will get to know and trust you..

It is ABOUT the work...

The best way is get know is outside the states surrounding ILL ... ask TONy Fitzpatrick his is a lesson well learned. He has GREAT work.

It is about the work. Make a body of work and keep showing, but it is ABOUT the work, not about fame..although that is great.

It is about the work, mature work,

PS. a lot of Chicago aritsts get well-know outside of Chicago and then (maybe) a major gallery (in Chicago) will then pick-them up...... OR EVEN NYC OR EVEN?:

bye: weaseldog


At 9:22 AM 2/21/02, Josephine LiPuma wrote:

you know this world needs dreamers-- youthful dreams are the future of all art forms yes?

I'm a youthful dreamer? Cool.

But about the other thing:

there is a whole other artworld out there, more honestly concerned with sales than with fame.

I think there are at least three levels of artists: those who make a good living selling crap or competant painting at coffee shops and CoyoteFest and street fairs, those who can afford to engage in intellectual discourse and may end up in art history texts and museum collections, and the MFA bunch in the middle who want to be taken serioiusly and still make a buck.

Most of us are probably fishfowl.


ok i think there are more then three levels of artists since I am an slightly used older artist, not a kid but past emerging. I have seen it all and you probably have too...... the proof is whether or not the artists or creatives or whatever you want to call us keep doing our work for a lifetime. whether or not we are any or your three..their might be more maybe four (lol) it rhymed..i hate rhyming poetry.. well anyway......

I know lots of artists that are superior artistes in terms of their work----they are not "famous" but they have damm great work..... maybe slightly famous whatever that means?

some get fame....sometimes.... but fame too early can make you a flash....

He was a grad school flash...

making our work...... it is about making your work....

there is art after grad school...this is the test.....yes?

turning the dreams into life long matter what?


later: weaseldoggie

p.s. addressing whether or not u can afford to make the work, your number two does not that become a class issue?


Just to clarify (and I'm sure 99 percent of you know this already) -- as an artist, it is NOT a good idea to take samples of your work to art chicago hoping to be picked up by a gallery. The galleries are there to sell work. And, you will probably just annoy them if you go around trying to show them your work.

Art Chicago is what it is - and if you don't like the art market scene - avoid it!

But, the dealers do want to see other art throughout the city, even if their schedules are tight and therefore most of them won't go to a show in some out of the way neighborhood (without somebody really recommending it to them or driving them there or some other incentive). so, an organized show in a good location would be best (but this has been talked about for a while now...). and, I don't about the collectors...

Also, a lot of the dealers like a good party (and so do I even if I'll be way too tired).


Oops, almost got to close to the sun. phew, thanks guys. (you need to say that in a real irritating voice)

So what does anybody agree on?

Shall we at least update the map? Who is on it? Keep the same design? Who is doing it? I would love to get together real SOON to discuss and implement this project. Lets get something done.



I'll call Chuck this week I think he has them. Maybe we should update and redisgn this year? just call me and we can work out a time to get together.



are you interested in having a new stray map stuffed in the may/june examiner?

kathryn hixson


Thursday, March 28th at 6:00 - 7:30 at the Claudia Cassidy Theater at the Chicago Cultural Center. I think there will be a simple reception afterwards.

The panelists are Margaret Hawkins, Jan Estep, Corey Postiglione, Michael Rooks, and Annette Ferrara, with Claire Wolf Krantz as the moderator.

I've sent the following title and description to Greg Knight for their publicity -- it's a week of special events and so there will be extra publicity for our event as well:


This panel will address overlapping roles, including artist, critic, and curator, that are played in today’s artworld. In the past, these roles were separated and participants were strongly discouraged from performing in more than one category. Panelists who have occupied dual and triple roles will address questions such as: How does one maintain objectivity and fairness when in decision-making positions? Under what conditions can overlapping responsibilities serve to promote one’s own career or that of one’s friends? How does the performance of varied roles affect one’s work?

Hope you can all be there, support the event, and participate from the audience during the question period.



At 11:26 AM 2/20/02, diego bobby wrote a rant against CACA.

Oh, geez, I was afraid this would happen. And just when I was trying to convince people that this was a vitriol-free discussion zone. I didn't intend an attack, or to encourage balkanization.

For what it's worth, (though I am not writting as an offical representative) CACA is as interested in stirring up some dialogue and commercial traffic as the stray galleries are, and as clueless about how to do it. I think at this point it is not us vs. anyone, it's just us. I don't think there are any "big kids" here, but maybe some people who think they are.

It's a big city and a small CACA. Some of us are historians or connoiseurs or other specialists. Some see ourselves as journalists. Others are willing to hang out at apartment shows and do some advocacy.

But, as a point of advice - art critics in general ( I think this is less true of rock or theatre or movies or anything else that makes money or buys ad space) are underpaid if they are paid at all, feel oppressed and abused as it is, and as a consequence often overvalue their own opinions and power. The last way to garner their sypathy or interest is to assume that their role is free PR lackey.


MIchael you are so right...when I was a young buckarooess Alice Thorsen and others would review my work in th New Art Examiner when it was printed on white bookstock.

And Neil Tesser would do articles on me & others in the Reader in the late 70's.

It was with much vigor all of us where grateful for the press .

Art critcs serve a purpose for which THEY decide what that purpose is......

When I pointed out that an artist could have a cd or whatver with them... What I was trying to say ----- bring a brief intro and to have some material about yourself and your work with you. at the fair and just be very casual working the show : Art Expo or Art Miami or Art Whatever. It always a great idea to have a color card with an image or a link to a site which the art contact or gallery owner or collector who you just run into or are introduce to can view your work in a NO PRESSURE type of situtaion.

MY best contacts where made this way. ..I just would run into to people...whereever that might be ART EXpo, or wherever.

An artist never gets PICKED up i an instantly by a gallery owner at these kind of shows, but art relationships are slowly built up over years.


Sometimes PRE-emerging aritst's are tooooooo interested in marketing & fame & power & much too early before their Voice has matured.

And I think the SOME gallery dealers & collectors & critics get tired of it?

I might be wrong so tell if I am?

Just an opinion.....The BOTTOM LINE IT IS THE WORK.....

My words may seen harsh but this is the truth for me anyway . It does not have to be for anyone esle..

I was told this my many mature artists when I was a young buckarooess .


tiamo: weaseldog



I did receive your message from last week. I was waiting to see what people were interested in doing. Although I think it is a good idea, I am not the only decision maker on the map. It really is up to the collective. Thus the open response to you. Are people interested in this? How may brochures would you need? When do you need them by? People who fund the map will have to understand that they are also footing the bill for this (I presume).

Othergroup people who are also gallery/space owners/directors please work on your contact info and short statements. We will be needing them soon. Spread the word.



My intention for this string of emails was in fact to cooperate to be reasonable and not to wear a high hat. I've never been a big fan of dismissive attitudes. I believe that our critics do serve an important function in this community far beyond that of being PR lackeys. It was never my intention to dismiss them as such. I am familliar with the under paid unappreciated art critic. A few of them I have even counted as friends. It was in fact your suggestion that that was all I saw you as. My initial note, That I thought it would be a good Idea to see CACA Expend a little muscle in the direction of the small spaces was not intended as a barb in any way. More simply it was meant as, Great Idea keep em Coming. I would be a fool to believe that I can retract the harsh words I wrote in reply to what I felt was an underhanded corner of the mouth insult in your reply to that statement. My lapse of judgement, not yours. My inability to play nice, not yours. I was mistaken to believe that you sir, would be baiting me. When it is quit clear now that you only had the highest motives for your profession and your colleagues at heart. So with greatest respect my apologies to you, to CACA and to all who may have stumbled on to my rancor and seen it as yet another sign that shit just can't get done here.

On Thu, 21 February 2002, bulka wrote:


On Thu, 21 Feb 2002, bulka wrote:

It's a big city and a small CACA.

Yes, The above line is exactly the problem. It seems that a lot of people have no clue to the dimensions of available resources. And I think Pedro's original posts (et seq) complained of just that (if I recall correctly). So.. can the resources be increased?

- Does anyone in this city teach writing?
- Are there any courses dealing in criticism?
- Are there any courses in contemporary art?
- Are there any 'lay' persons who desire to write?

Cannot the OG posters write? under pseudonyms?




The lack of responsible writing/criticism from Chicago in well known magazines and other sources is only %80 of the problem. The other big problem is that the curators, I mean the so called "big time movers and shakers" don't help the town. No one passes names around. To this day I have never recieved an e-mail or a phone call from any of them recommending anyone for any of my shows. For that matter... I have never recieved an e-mail saying something like " hey Pedro, I'm Mr. Nemerson from Italy and such Chicago curator mentioned your name, maybe we could work together or you could recommend some Chicago people for my next show here in Italy." I always need to refer to people in NY or even Milwaukee for information, a lead or anyhting and that's really amazing. And I guess that is because they never go out, and the reason is because they don't care and we let them get away with it. I have recieved more information in my vacational trips to Puerto Rico than from the five years I've lived here. For that matter, I have recieved grants from NY and Puerto Rico, but to this this date , have never recieved anything from the city or any individual. These people, they have a job and they need to be responsible and we need to remind them that they should care or move out. I have never seen Susan Getz or Rondeau, or Smith, or Kirshner, or Bonami, and I can go on forever. I mean, they do go to Young/Vedanta, I've seen them, or at any UIC event but that's because UIC is Kirshner territory, but that is as far as it goes. Take for example the ArtForum issue on the up coming young artists. Hamza Walker, who does goes to the alternatives, chose someone from San Francisco. I guess in the whole Chicago area, and for all the years Hamza has worked for the REn in Chicago, no one is good enough. Is that a fact? I don't think so. Maybe you guys should just stop going to their shows, let's see what happens when no one cares about their shows. Artists need more than just passion to make some work. So the problem is much bigger and almost impossible to resolve at this point. Unless, the new people start to take action, real action, no sucking up or kissing some asses around. I know this sounds too aggrrrressive but believe me, I tried everything. And this is not so much a complain because I have been able to pull it off in magical ways. But I know that it must be hard for mostly everyone here because it has been really hard for me and I'm just tired. Can you believe it? There is so much talent here and so many good artists going to waste. I wish them luck and my help in whatever ways I can. One thing I'll be glad for when I move is that I never sucked up to anyone. That's really important. Stop the ass kissing brothers! The doors won't close, many more open everyday and that's the beauty of it. Don't be afraid of the "movers and shaker" because they don't even know who you are.


On Sun, 24 Feb 2002, Pedro Velez wrote:

The lack of responsible writing/criticism from Chicago in well known magazines and other sources is only %80 of the problem. The other big problem is that the curators, I mean the so called "big time movers and

I think it is universal. At least, whenever I've shown out of town and been able to hang out with the local artists rather than the curators/ dealers/ patrons (the C/D/P), it was exactly these complaints which surfaced (and of course I was one of those Hamza-imported outsiders). I didn't get that feeling in LA; maybe they are _all_ outsiders in LA. Go to LA, Pedro. And it is warmer than MN.



Pedro, pedro, pedro

I hope you still are going to rant on the othergroup when you move. It would be so dull with out you. While I do think you have a point, once again you made it all black/white. Just because YOU do not see these curators does not mean they do not make the rounds. Think about it. Are you at all the spaces when they are open on Saturdays or for evening appointments. You are assuming the curators would only come on openings, and while you make it to a great deal of openings, you most certainly do not go to all, and not for the whole opening. I can only speak of our space and guess what? A fair amount of those curators you listed have made it out, some even twice! Even those critics you rant about have made it out to us, more than a few times. People are looking and talking about art. (I doubt/hope we are the only ones) I know how it is fustrating when you bust your ass to provide avenues for artists only to find deadends. However, alienating the existing framework is not a good idea. While I agree there are changes needed, it isn't all bad. There are good people who do pass names on. Perhaps, we shouldn't blame everyone else for all the problems. We can do better than that.



I know some do show up and might talk to you about "art". You guys have done pretty good in terms of reviews but that is because your program ir really conservative and loaded with painters... who doesn't enjoy a good painting? I know Fred Camper loves them. If you guys moved to River North it wouldn't make a difference. And I'm not trying to slap your gallery because Standard has been the only space to get good reviews all the time in the FGA. But that is a fact. The Project Room, Beret and Ten in One were succesful getting people in and getting some reviews and attention but where are they now? There is a bigger picture and the gaps are easy to see in the international art scene and in the well known magazines. Why do people keep moving out fo here ? I don't think I'm making this up and I don't think I'm so hardcore with the black and white. And for the record...why do people think I only go to openings?


Well Anthony, not even Hamza could have had a better defense. I guess your words put me to shame and I guess things here are peaches and cream, at least for that close circle of friends.


Pedro, no disrespect but sometimes things ain't so cut and dry.

Just because you don't get calls, doesn't mean they aren't doing anything for the town.

1. and I may get a bit blasted on this, but having a "major art star" does something for the perception of the city. And given my travels I have noticed the "art cache" of chicago somewhat rising, if very slowly.

2. Just to be a naysayer... I have received very concrete tangible help from Rondeau, I have seen Smith at some of the "not Young/Vendata" galleries. I know Getz asks for names and does take a look at some smaller shows.

3. to play devils advocate ... What do Getz, Rondeau, Bonami, Smith et all owe you? The art world is not, and should not, be a level playing field. There are many steps between the Art Institute, The Ren, and places like Standard, NFA FGA et al. I have asked curators at times for names and contact info, sometimes it has paid off, sometimes it doesn't. But someone in an alternative (whatever that means) gallery is not quite ready for that art institute retrospective. its not always about quality.

4. maybe they don't like what you do. There are plenty of people in town who haven't liked the shows I've curated, do not like the art I make, and haven't liked the books I've worked to publish...big deal. I just try to make the next project even better, and if the "movers and shakers" take notice, all the better. if not, maybe the next time.

5. Its not that they don't care, but sometimes "they" have other things

6. try working in tandem with the younger curators, not the biggies.

To answer this charge:

Take for example the ArtForum issue on the up coming young artists. Hamza Walker, who does goes to the alternatives, chose someone from San Francisco. I guess in the whole Chicago area, and for all the years Hamza has worked for the REn in Chicago, no one is good enough. Is that a fact? I don't think so.

I. John Bankston (the artist Hamza picked for artforum) used to live in Chicago. Did show a lot in Chicago. Now lives in S.F.

2. Do we write people off when they move out of the city? in that case I am going to have to invest in a LOT more whiteout.

3. Do you know how a major magazine works? artforum asks hamza to pick someone, hamza gives a list of 6 or so candidates, artforum decides who they'd like to see, or who they think would be a good match. then hamza writes. Artists need more than just passion to make some

4. hamza does more behind the scenes than you can guess. I can name at least 30 artists who have gotten shows because of him. at least 15 who have gotten grants. and numerous organizatons (mine included) that owe some of our financial solvency due to him. Just because he doesn't do it on the street wearing clown shoes with a pink neon arrow pointing at him doesn't mean the activity isn't there.

5. When he likes an artists, everyone he talks to knows it, from funders, to collectors, to curators, he isn't shy with his enthusiasm.

as for the lack of criticism that is a big problem. But speaking as someone who does on occasion write, or at least try-- Its not only hard to get published, its also hard to get well published.

I don't like writing reviews personally, and ethically I shouldn't. Many of the artists in town I like I have either curated into shows, or published, or may in the future publish. I can't turn around and write a review of their shows. If I can persuade a magazine to take an article on the artist, I will do that, I have also written essays for shows by people I like that I didn't organize. But when so many art publications, or newspapers, only feature, or mainly feature, reviews...I'm quickly running out of people I can cover. And that is when the magazine even wants a review.

And anyone who has ever tried to say something intelligent in 500 words or less, particularly about a group show, knows how thankless a task that can be.




I do remember one review were Bulka called our show "boring, boring, boring. The Ghost of Ten in One lives on..." or something like that. So you are wrong about FGA only saying good things. As to our "conservative" programing, I disagree, but your are certainly entitled to think what you want. ....River North....speaking of river north. About two years ago CACA had a meeting with gallery owners/directors/curators in which we both attended. I clearly remember you stating quite loudly and boldly that you go to every opening and that you never see CACA at any of them. So maybe that's were I get confused about you going to the openings.

When is the next FGA coming out. I am looking forward to a review of our conservative shows. Change us if we are so bad, write a thoughtful, well versed negative review. I would welcome it.



I didn't call your place bad, I said conservative....there is a big difference between those two. Now I remember that tiny rant. That was a long time ago but it was so short that it means almost nothing now, so you still hold the record for good reviews. Remember the FGA has gone tru some changes, now is more substancial and responsible. And those shows deserved good reviews because they were good.

Anyway, I remember that meeting. I didn't say that, John Brunnetti said it, he was trying to make a point about how busy they are because they all have families or whatever, he screamed and said some offensive words to me in front of everyone. I remember Claire had to apologize to me in the name of CACA. Very nasty situation. I also remember Camper being very impatient and angry at us, specially with Mikos. Not all CACA is bad. Polly Ulrich is is Margaret Hawkins. And even Susan Snodgrass, she can be smart at times, too bad she writes mostly about silly, figurative, and overly metaphorical art.

I do go to a lot of openings but I also go during saturdays or weekdays, and many times bring people from out of town. I also go to shows in River North and the FGA has even reviewed Zolla /Liberman. The record is out there. I do it for the reviews and because I love looking art, any art. And as I said before, I like to go to openings to see the reaction of people. It is important for to me to see what people have to say. If I want to be bored while looking at art then all I have to do is visit the contemporary wing in the Art Institute or that ridiculous show about the body curated by Michael Rooks at the MCA. Now, that is boring.


Nice post!

Al Ravitz


This is a problem Pedro has mentioned as a logistical problem editing FGA. But It is also a problem which has been laid out in panel discussions and informal gatherings alike for about two years now. I don't know that the questions that you ask are seriously new, but it is good that once again someone else is asking them. This in my opinion is one of the reasons that a more dynamic, all inclusive approach to Chicago's arts might not be a bad thing. As Mr. Camper writes both film and art reviews maybe others can or would do the same. There are plenty of weeklys that feature art reviews. Only the reader and sometimes new city function as serious weekly cultural guides. It may not seem a huge feather in the cap when Chicago Journal writes a review but it does get read. Maybe a broadening of our views of probable venues might serve us well. After all it seems that our perception of resources is directly related to our perceptions of the problem. If good art can be seen and read about every

where does it cease to be good art or does it serve to allow a greater audience to be involved? Sort of a lets cast bigger net thing?